Developer: EA LA
Release Date: 11/4/2004
Also Available On: PC Exclusive
The Good: Great visuals, solid action, guns feel good, the change of scenery is nice
The Bad: No health packs means constant deaths, constant relying on quick saves, friendly AI is dumb as dirt, action gets repetitive, not enough cinematic moments, framerate drops for no reason
2004 was a year where WWII games were at their peak, Rising Sun was a huge disappointment, so EA went after the Pacific theatre again with Pacific Assault. The game was much better than Rising Sun and was a graphical showcase. It pushed PCs to their limits back then and was a solid shooter. The only problem was that it didn't advance the series' formula at all and was just another shooting gallery. It did have some great cinematic moments and showed what Medal of Honor could really do on better hardware. The consoles couldn't handle what Pacific Assault was able to do to it remained the last PC exclusive MoH game.
The game starts out with the storming of Atawa Atoll beach on November 20, 1943, 8 months before the French D-Day that is so famous. The game takes you through the jungles of Japan in some pretty narly guerrilla warfare. There's lush flora in your way, and the Pacific theatre was a huge change of scenery from all the European battles everyone was tired of. Many new weapons were introduced like the Japanese weapons and some others like the Riot Gun. One scene has you carrying an MG to set up an ambush along a river. You can pick it up and move it. It's nice to see things like this in WWII games but there just isn't enough like that.
Most of the campaign was just endless jungles and disabling this machine gun nest, eliminate those patrols. It repeated over and over for about 6-8 hours. The one mission where you were in a plane was nice because you controlled the rear MG and then took over the plane itself. The controls were a bit hard to get used to because the whole thing is controlled with just the mouse. The game was relentlessly difficult like all Medal of Honor games. You couldn't refill your plane's health so if you died you restarted the entire level or your last quick save. The checkpoints are spread very far apart so rely on constantly quick saving otherwise you will be angry. I also didn't like the default control setup. Aiming was done with Left Alt and melee was done with the right mouse button. What kind of controls are those?! I had to change them manually.
The game is also full of bugs and glitches. Most were patched but some still exist. The game crashes every so often, friendly AI gets in your way to where you can't advance and have to enable the developer console and use noclip to get through them. The biggest issue is that you have a health bar and can't refill it with health packs. Once you die a corpsman will come heal you, if you're lucky. They only came some times and I died often because of the stupid AI. Why not give me health packs like older MoH games? With that aside the weapons feel great to shoot and the action is solid. There's a lot going on screen, but the framerate can't keep up with the action. Back in the day everyone thought it was because the engine pushed PCs too hard, now that PCs are way more advanced it's just the engine. I got 60 FPS most of the time then suddenly it dropped below 20 for no reason.
Pacific Assault is a solid shooter, and if you missed out on this try it out. Almost any computer can run this game these days, so there's no excuse not to. Pacific Assault is also one of the better Medal of Honor games and really advanced the series past the dated gameplay from Rising Sun and back.